I need advise on what I should do about the following issue.
I entered into a very basic contract for shop fittings . The details of the job were outlined under sub-categories just incase I didn't want certain sections done. E.g. Carpentry , plumbing , painting etc.
During the period of construction a family member of mine passed away and I didn't visit the site much but the contractor kept taking payments for the defied rent stages .
About a month ago I went in and realised the majority of the work had not begun and I have his a formal time to finish the work or atleast show a decent amount of progress.
Two weeks passed and nothing was done and we finally agreed that he no longer continue the project. I asked for a refund for the items he had not touched (Eg. Flooring ,painting, bench fitouts) etc. And told him I would bill him the invoices to complete the work he had started or he can send out his own tradies.
The problem I have now is he is refusing the return the full amount owed for work untouched. He has also sent me a bill for works he considered to be extras to try and reduce the amount of my refund.
Total amount owed to me for work he hasn't touched is around 40,000.
I would estimate the cost to finish the stuff he started at around 30,000.
He said he is only willing to pay back 20,000 with a whole list of excuses. He also said he can only pay by instalments as his business isn't going too well(!). . We are already running behind and have been delayed in the opening for atleast 4 months . He began project in July last year with all payments made to him since Nov 2015.
I know that he recently opened an importing business and I think that is where the majority of my money went.
My question is would it be worth it to even take him to court and what would happen if I do get an order and he says he has no money to payback? Also, what is his legal stand on all these extra charges (Which he suddenly just mentioned) for work I didn't ask him to do?
I don't know much about his personal finances.